I have been a part of The Law School community for over a third
of my life as either a student, an alum, or a faculty member.
Over the past fourteen years, I have learned a great deal about
The Law School – its strengths, its . . . idiosyncrasies,
and, of course, how it has changed over the last decade.
Today The Law School offers many more courses than
ever before. Place this year’s course announcements next
to those of 1991 when I graduated, and you will see something
like ninety more seminars and courses that cover an extremely
varied array of topics. Both the faculty and student body are
more intellectually diverse than was the case when I went to school
here. And we certainly didn’t have A-COW-demia, our fiberglass
art cow, to provide comic relief in the Green Lounge on short
While many changes have occurred in The Law School
during the past decade, the changes have occurred on the surface.
The essence of this place has remained unchanged over time. And
it is this essence that makes the University of Chicago Law School
experience so intense and exciting.
One must ask then, what is it about Chicago that is so unique?
What is it about The Law School that explains why
faculty members Frank Easterbrook, Richard Posner and Diane Wood
continue to remain actively involved in teaching here after being
appointed to the federal bench? Why do we have the most productive
faculty in the country? Why, according to a recent survey conducted
by the American Lawyer, are Chicago graduates the most sought
after law school graduates by the nation's top 100 law firms?
Why does such a long list of notable lawyers and public servants,
whether they went to law school here or not, want to be involved
in what we do here as teachers and supporters?
What is it that draws all of us here?
We often try to capture what’s distinctive
about being here through phrases like "The University of
Chicago is dedicated to the Life of the Mind." Or, "We
have an unabashed enthusiasm for rigorous analysis and a love
of ideas." These phrases, while evocative, don’t really
convey the thrill of being at Chicago. Indeed no words can really
describe the Chicago experience. It is something, quite simply,
that must be lived.